Mespilus grandiflora Smith; M. smithii DC.; M. lobata Poir.; Crataegomespilus grandiflora (Smith) Bean
A deciduous tree up to 30 ft high, of rounded habit, the lower branches pendulous; branchlets downy. Leaves oval or obovate, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, half to two-thirds as wide; often with several angular lobes towards the end, these being most developed on the barren young shoots; margins finely toothed; both surfaces downy; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long, hairy. Flowers usually in pairs or threes, terminating short, leafy twigs; each flower 1 in. across, pure white, produced on a short, woolly stalk. Fruit 3⁄4 in. in diameter, globular, yellowish brown, flesh mealy, tasting like that of a hawthorn, containing two hard stones.
The origin of this tree is unknown, but judging from Loudon’s account it must have been introduced to Britain before 1800. It is a hybrid of the medlar, Mespilus germanica, the other parent being C. oxyacantha or C. monogyna, probably the former. It appears to be sterile, but flowers with the greatest freedom towards the end of May, and makes a picture of extreme beauty and elegance. It is a luxuriantly leafy tree of vigorous growth, an admirable ornament on a lawn.
× C. gillotii Beck × Crataegomespilus gillotii (Beck) Rehd. – In 1875, Dr Gillot found some shrubs growing in a hedgerow by a ruined priory near Autun, Seine-et-Loire, which resembled the preceding but differed in their lobed, not toothed leaves and smaller flowers with two styles. The hawthorn parent of this hybrid is thought to be C. monogyna. Similar hybrids have been found in other parts of France.